Coughs are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits, and are caused by many things including (but not limited to): upper respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, post nasal drip, acid reflux (GERD), heart and lung problems including tumors, smoke or chemical irritants, and drug reactions including ACE inhibitors.
Conventional medicine treats the symptoms in most cases, and sometimes give cough suppressants to quiet it- which may just trap whatever is clogging the system- which can cause a worsening of the problem.
It would seem more productive (pun intended) to help make the cough work to clear things up so that it will be able to finish the job. There are many herbs used over the years that help thin mucous and open the air passages to help clear a cough and make it easier to breathe.
The formula below describes a combination of herbs that work to open the breathing passages, thin the mucous, stop the histamine/ immune reaction causing the ‘attack’ in asthma, and soothe the airway to provide relief. I have used it for asthmatics to stop attack in minutes, and to take away the need to use inhalers for prevention (one was still smoking…).
My formula for cough or to take to help prevent asthma attacks: Lobelia, Nettle leaf, Pleurisy, Ginger, Mullein leaf, Comfrey root, Marshmallow root, Onion, Elecampane Root, Coltsfoot Leaf, Licorice Root, Kola Nut, Cherry Bark, Fennel Seed, Peppermint Leaf. (click on lobelia to see how ‘toxic’ this herb has proven to be…)
DOSAGE: 2-4 droppers 2-4 times daily or more often as needed.
For acute asthma attack: Lobelia seed tincture.
Dosage: 2-5 dropperfuls of Lobelia seed tincture (for kids you can start with 5-10 DROPS). repeat in 5 minutes if not resolved.
There are those saying asthma can be reversed/cured.
Expectorants: Pleurisy root acts as an expectorant and relieves pain and congestion in the lungs. Anise is an expectorant that is also antiseptic to the mucous membranes. Cayenne (capsicum)- The antioxidants in peppers support the lungs, and the capsicum thins mucus, allowing you to expel it easier. Adding a dash of cayenne pepper to teas has been a long time favorite home cough and congestion remedy. Colt’s Foot is both emollient and expectorant. It will soothe the tissues of the throat as well as cause phlegm to be expelled. Horehound– expectorant action. Lobelia stimulates the nervous system and speeds respiration. It also helps break up mucus and facilitates coughing. (from this site.)
Suppressants (to use at night, but better when used with herbs that thin mucous): Black Cohosh, though more famous for it’s use today as a woman’s botanical, also helps allay coughs according to older herbalists. According to M. Grieve, In whooping-cough, it proves very effective.” Add the tincture to your cough remedy, or drink black cohosh tea to quiet a nighttime cough. Comfrey root is more effectual than the leaves and is the part usually used in cases of coughs. It is highly esteemed for all pulmonary complaints, consumption and bleeding of the lungs. Research published in the FASEB Journal in February 2005 makes a strong case that dark chocolate can be a powerful cough suppressant. The theobromine content of dark chocolate may actually be a more effective cough medicine than traditional or over-the counter cold and cough remedies. Fennel syrup prepared from fennel juice was formerly given for chronic coughs. Wild thyme tea is recommended for cough, hangover, flu, and sore throat. Thyme honey is ideal for sweetening expectorant herb teas. Thyme has primarily been used respiratory ailments for its infection-fighting and cough suppressive qualities. Valerian calms spasmodic coughing and muscle tension – mixes well with licorice, coltsfoot, and mullein leaf in cough remedies.
An easy and usually accessible way: cut an onion into a few pieces and place it near your head/pillow at night to stop a cough- I thought it was crazy till I had family and friends tell me it worked and a local doctor tells his patients to do it.